Family Auks (Alcidae)

Least Concern

Least Auklet (Aethia pusilla)


French: Starique minuscule German: Zwergalk Spanish: Mérgulo mínimo

Uria pusilla


, 1811,

Kamchatka, Russia




Chukotskiy Peninsula S to Sea of Okhotsk (Yamskiye I, Iony I) and C Kuril Is, and W Alaska from Diomede Is S to Aleutians and E to NW Gulf of Alaska (Shumagin Is and Semidi Is). Winters at sea and along coasts in Bering Sea, often near breeding areas, from N limits of open water S to Gulf of Alaska and N Japan (Hokkaido).

Descriptive notes

12–15 cm; c. 85 g; wingspan 33–36 cm. Smallest alcid; short, dull red bill with narrow pale tip and blackish base, small horny knob from base of upper mandible;... read more


Generally silent at sea. At breeding colonies quite vocal, calling in daytime from nesting cliffs.... read more


Marine offshore and along coasts. Breeds on remote islands and sea coasts in talus slopes, beach... read more

Food and feeding

Forages on planktonic crustaceans near-shore to offshore throughout year, almost always in large flocks and at open ocean locations with... read more


Spring arrival at colonies variable, earliest towards extreme S, latest at N limit: late Apr to early May in Aleutians, early to mid May at... read more


Migratory movements and winter range poorly known. Normally departs from colonies Aug to early Sept... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The size of the breeding population is very imprecisely known, given difficulty of censusing often very large colonies, but is... read more

Recommended citation

Nettleship, D.N., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Least Auklet (Aethia pusilla). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 September 2019).